The Montreal Mini Maker Faire comes to Concordia
Maker Faire is a celebration of invention, creativity and curiosity showcasing the very best of the global Maker Movement. People of all ages and backgrounds gather to learn, share, make and get inspired at Maker Faires around the world, from Beijing to Orlando, Fla., and from Rio de Janeiro to Hyderabad, India.
Concordia is hosting a local edition — the Montreal Mini Maker Faire — on November 16 and 17, 2018, in the atrium of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building).
The family-friendly show-and-tell event will feature the work of more than 50 tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, scientists and artists. Their inventions run the gamut from life-sized replicas of Star Wars droids and electronic table-top game demos to homemade synthesizers and high-powered rocket models.
Bart Simon, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and director of Concordia’s Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, is co-producer of the Mini Maker Faire along with Ann-Louise Davidson, associate professor in the Department of Education, and Lynn Hughes, Department of Studio Arts professor emerita.
“The maker movement is where art, education and technology converge. Our university is also a unifier of cross-disciplinary initiatives,” says Simon.
"This event is about more than creating a showcase for makers around Montreal. As society shifts at an ever-increasing pace, maker culture becomes critical as a movement, a set of practices and shared values for taking control over the technologies that define us. This kind of critical making is the new liberal arts for the 21st century and with this event, Concordia puts itself front and centre in the debate about what universities can become."
Maker culture is everywhere
Davidson, who also holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture, says that with two unique on-campus maker spaces, as well as several subject-matter experts, Concordia has emerged as a leader in maker culture.
“Maker spaces, such as the Technology Sandbox in the Webster Library and our Education Makers Space at Milieux, have traditional tools — hammers, saws and solders — along with emerging tech equipment such as 3D printers. And with this new gear comes an innovative way of learning.”
Davidson notes that the maker movement helps people build 21st-century skills by empowering them to respond to the world around them and create their own — mostly technology-based — inventions.
“Maker culture is everywhere,” she adds. “It embodies do-it-yourself tinkering — which refers to making small changes to something to improve it — using affordable open-source computers, electronics and recycled items.”
As an example, Davidson explains that instead of purchasing a 3D printer for the Milieux maker space, she created a community of practice to develop the expertise to build their own printers stating that the whole spirit of maker culture is to create, share, remix and connect.
“Through making, we learn invaluable life lessons, engage in persistent, complex problem-solving and create solutions to real-world problems.”
Davidson is holding a public symposium about her research on November 18, during Concordia’s inaugural Conference on Maker Cultures, which directly follows the fair.
“I want to give everyone maker fever!” she says.
“The Maker Faire is the thing to do in November in Montreal. Revealing our creativity, our ingenuity, our collaboration skills and our capacity for inclusion, it positions Concordia as a leader in the local maker ecosystem. We welcome every tinkerer, geek, inventor, creator, DIYer and even the curious.”
From model airplanes to mushroom roots
The 50-plus inventors displaying their work at the Montreal Mini Maker Faire includes five Concordians.
Bora Bodur, a master’s student in educational technology, is bringing his large model airplane built entirely from 3D printed parts.
Nathalie Duponsel, a PhD student in educational technology, is showing projects that she created as part of the Chalet Kent makerspace project, a partnership that aims to develop a community of makers with Maison des Jeunes and help children become successful in a competitive world through STEAM activities.
Théo Chauvirey, a master’s student in design and computation arts, is displaying the potential of mycelium (mushroom roots) in public transport design, as well as a dress produced with bacterial cellulose and embedded 3D printed patterns.
Matthew Silverstein, a mechanical engineering student in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, is showing a 3D printer he built, as part of a team, out of a milk crate, called the Milkcreator.
Marc-André Léger, an instructor in the John Molson School of Business, is presenting an open-source large format 3D printer that he assembled.
And while on campus, why not check out the What is Food? show in Concordia’s new 4th SPACE venue, which offers plenty of its own maker-related activites: raising crickets, growing food indoors, preparing vegan cheese, and testing the sugar content of homemade kombucha.
Don’t miss the Montreal Mini Maker Faire, taking place on November 16 and 17, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Abe and Harriet Gold Atrium of Concordia’s Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Ste. Catherine St. W.). Admission is free of charge and all are welcome.